The Transient Sublime And Mortality In “Ode To A Nightingale”

2490 words - 10 pages

何梓涵 12010007
To Professor Hou Yiling
English Literature

The Transient Sublime and Mortality in “Ode to a Nightingale”

Composed during the most creative period in Keats’s brief poetic career, “Ode to a Nightingale” has long been regarded as one of the most refined works of his poetry. Previous criticism has comprehensively explored its themes of nature, beauty and mortality, as well as its demonstration of Keats’s notion of Negative Capability. But based on my research, few critical reviews have touched upon the point which I find clearly suggest itself in this poem: that the poet’s experience here depicted is not merely an escape into the realm of ideal beauty, but also an intoxication ...view middle of the document...

 In trying to grasp at the sublime, the mind loses consciousness, and the spirit is able to grasp it but only temporarily. With an overwhelming power to provoke both terror and ecstasy, the sublime humbles the subject and elevates his spirits at the same time. Through an experience of the sublime, one seeks to realize a union of man and nature, which is indeed the ideal of Romanticism.
The reason why most critics do not associate Keats’s experience in “Ode to a Nightingale” with the sublime probably lies in the absence of conventional natural imageries that are most often related to the sentiment. It is believed by many that the sublime is normally triggered by natural objects such as seas, mountains and high rocks that demonstrate an awesome kind of magnificence, which are all lacking in the vision depicted in “Ode to a Nightingale”. Nevertheless, although a nightingale’s song is not traditionally considered exalted enough to evoke feelings of the sublime, the one featured in this poem appears an extraordinary vocal beauty that does possess the thrilling qualities of the sublime object: it is an inspiring natural phenomenon with an intoxicating power to arouse both awe and anxiety, stimulating the poet’s desire to unite with it and with nature as a whole. With this key supposition assured, the following passages will be devoted to a detailed analysis of Keats’s experience of the sublime represented in the poem.
The poem opens with a painful description of the poet’s feelings while listening to the nightingale’s song: his heart aches and his sense pains as though he has taken poison or drugs. But his pain stems not from grief, which we learn by surprise, but from an excess of happiness occasioned by the bird’s song which is “too happy” to be endured. This ambivalent mixture of pain and pleasure is the characteristic mark of the sublime, which is further heightened by the sharp contrast between the poet’s painful numbness and the bird’s god-like rapture and freedom.
The poet then calls for wine, “a beaker full of the warm South” which may carry him into a state of the sublime where identification with the nightingale and union with nature are accessible, in order to escape “the weariness, the fever, and the fret” of human lives, where youth dies early and even love does not last long. But then he changes his mind: he will fly to the nightingale not through the artificial device of alcoholic intoxication (“Bacchus and his pards”), but through the agency of poetic imagination (“the viewless wings of Poesy”).
For a moment the poet succeeds, exclaiming that he is “already with thee”. Imagination leads him into a trance, where he loses consciousness while arriving at the climax of the sublime. In his most exalted poetic vision, he beholds the holy lustre of “the Queen-Moon” and “her starry Fays” in the tender night sky. But soon common sense abruptly obtrudes, pulling the poet from up amid the stars down to the earthly gloom where “there is no light”....

Other Papers Like The Transient Sublime And Mortality In “Ode To A Nightingale”

Look At Items A To C. How Are Social Control And Social Order Maintained In The Face Of Social Inequality From And Conflict And Consensus Perspective

538 words - 3 pages Look at Items A to C. How are social control and social order maintained in the face of social inequality from, a) A conflict perspective: The conflict perspective emphasizes the role of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, it sees the role of the bourgeoisie to gain as much profit as they can from the proletariat, even though this is seen as incredibly unfair in the conflict perspective, it shows us that many of the people just accept the

Charles Kettering, The Famed Us Electrical Engineer And Inventor Said “A Problem Well-Stated Is Half-Solved.” One Of The Key Capabilities In Consulting Is To Develop A Good Understanding Of The...

3006 words - 13 pages Charles Kettering, the famed US electrical engineer and inventor said “A problem well-stated is half-solved.” One of the key capabilities in Consulting is to develop a good understanding of the problem situation from a number of different perspectives. This stage in the consulting process is known as ‘problem structuring’. The capabilities in Consulting have no limits with extraordinary growth in which is capable to handle and bring solutions

Tok External Assessment Essay - Knowledge Gives Us A Sense Of Who We Are.” To What Extent Is This True In The Human Sciences And Ethics

1914 words - 8 pages TOK “Knowledge gives us a sense of who we are.” To what extent is this true in the Human Sciences and Ethics? Socrates once said, “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge” [1]. In similar vein, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know” [1]. A great Indian master, Nisargadatta Maharaj once quoted, “To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are

K To 12 And Its Implications In The Philippines

630 words - 3 pages . Ayayay, “one of the most dangerous place to live” na nga ata ang bansa natin. Pero, ‘bat ganon dito sa bansa sunud-sunod ang mga bagyo, alphabetical pa nga, tapos yung mga lindol nakakatakot pa, dahil daw sa HAARP na tinatawag, nagweweather and disaster manipulation. Pero sa totoo, ang lapit kasi ng Pilipinas sa karagatang Pasipiko, na kadalasang pinagmumulan ng mga bagyo at malapit rin tayo sa Pacific Ring of Fire, na maraming bulkang

The Romantic To The Darwinistic: A Shift In The Outlook On Nature

767 words - 4 pages The Romantic to the Darwinistic: A Shift in the Outlook on NatureAmit Bajaj—Pledged March 26, 2012 Dr. Forbes Section 7- 11:00-11:50 The Romantic to the Darwinistic: A Shift in the Outlook on Nature After the Romantic period, a major shift occurred in the outlook of nature in the minds of scholars and philosophers. The Romantic period ultimately regarded nature as the immutable beauty of the physical world, without the impurities of the

How Does Knowledge Of The Foundations And History Of Nursing Provide A Context In Which To Understand Current Practice? Identify At Least Three Trends In Nursing Practice Demonstrated By The...

323 words - 2 pages How does knowledge of the foundations and history of nursing provide a context in which to understand current practice? Identify at least three trends in nursing practice demonstrated by the interactive timeline. How have these trends influenced your perspective of nursing practice? To understand the current practice of nursing, one must understand its history. Nursing is an art. One must have a passion for it. To be a nurse, one has to

A Study Of The Garasia Tribe And Strategies To Evangelize Them

4691 words - 19 pages A Study of the Garasia Tribe and Strategies to Evangelize Them 1.) Overview of the Tribal Groups in Rajasthan Rajasthan is a state steeped in culture and history. Rajasthan, or the realm of the Kings, as it is known, is perhaps one of the princely states of all in India. Its history is abundant with stories and legends about its kings and rulers. In its golden age, the region was ruled by the Rajputs, and in their honor the state was

Describe The Components Of A Healing Hospital And Their Relationship To Spirituality

1247 words - 5 pages ; lennick, 2006). Integrity means speaking the truth, standing up for rights, and keeping up with promises, being consistent with general philosophy, individual values, and beliefs. Integrity demonstrates nursing’s ethical commitment to providing compassionate care. The nurse recognizes the worth and privacy of each individual and therefore acts in a manner to respect the privacy and values of the patient. A nurse who practices integrity acts in a way

Create An Email Script To Be Sen To At&T Customers Informing Them Of The Security Breach And A Plan To Resolve The Issue. Explain Your Rationale

359 words - 2 pages understand that some of you are also customers. We are notifying you so you can take action along with our efforts to eliminate potential harm. We have advised the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies about this incident and notified them about the presence of your specific information in the data breach. Because this is a serious incident, we strongly encourage you to take preventive measures now to help prevent and detect any misuse of

The Roles Of College Guidance Counselors In Calabarzon: Implications To Guidance Program And School Administration

5245 words - 21 pages THE ROLES OF COLLEGE GUIDANCE COUNSELORS IN CALABARZON: IMPLICATIONS TO GUIDANCE PROGRAM AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION M. H. A. SEMIRA Batangas State University Gov. Pablo Borbon Campus I, Rizal Avenue, Batangas City ABSTRACT The study was undertaken to identify and assess the roles of college guidance counselors in CALABARZON and its implications to the schools guidance program and school administration. According to Erford (2003

The Right Time To Lose A Patient

774 words - 4 pages developing an understanding of their severity. It is easy to regard a set of symptoms as fiction or case study, and it was only through experience that I discovered that we must not be so quick to desensitize ourselves to these cases and the people affected by them. I was challenged with observing the death of a patient early on in my rotation. Three days before her status began to decline, we had a long conversation about her children, the

Related Essays

The Nightingale And The Rose Essay

4196 words - 17 pages 0202 / ‫مجلة ديالى‬ ‫العدد الرابع و االربعون‬ The Bird as a Sacrificial Hero in Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose” and “The Happy Prince” BY ASST. INST. Shaima’ Fadhil Hassan UNIVERSITY OF KOYA/ COLLEGE OF LANGUAGES/ DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH Heroism and sacrifice are not new concepts; they can be traced back to the early days of human life. These concepts developed throughout history as a result of the development of human

From Nightingale To Now: The Evolution Of Nursing And Nursing Theory

1145 words - 5 pages Nursing: What it is and What it is Not, a seminal work that helped to define the role of nurses and the nursing profession, setting new standards for the profession and establishing paradigms that continue to inform the role of nurses and the development of nursing theories (Judd et al, 2010). That same year Nightingale opened a nurse training school, and continued to help make the role of nurses in society be seen as a respectable and important

To Build A Fire And The Grey

370 words - 2 pages ‘To Build a Fire’ and The Grey both cover identical topics such as survival and perseverance. But the main theme shown in both is "in the wild, there are many factors which determine one's chances of survival." The two main characters go through similar events in their respective stories. The two men go through conflict of man vs. nature and are in comparable settings. In TFB an unidentified main character travels through extremely cold

Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere, Assess The Claim That ‘The Main Function Of Education Is To Maintain A Value Consensus In Society’

899 words - 4 pages The role of education in society is seen by many different people in many different ways. This is due to the fact that different sociologists hold different and conflicting views. Functionalists tend to believe that society is based on a shared culture of similar values and norms; as Item A mentions ‘Schools play a vital role by socializing young people into these basic values.’ Whereas, a different approach to education is one of Marxists, who